DC Student Sexual Assault and Rape Lawyer

Being accused of sexual offenses could be a potentially devastating situation for students. An allegation could tarnish a person’s academic career and may even lead to criminal charges. A DC student sexual assault and rape lawyer could review your case and help you learn your rights. Help from an accomplished student defense attorney could make a critical difference in the outcome of your case.

Defining Reasonable Doubt

Compared to criminal court, schools generally use a standard much lower than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. As a seasoned lawyer could explain, this is the highest standard that prosecutors must meet to convict a person of a crime in criminal court. This standard is meant to protect individuals from having their liberty and freedom unjustly trampled on. In the American justice system, the principle of innocence until proven guilty exists to keep people from being convicted of crimes without a high standard of evidence.

A Preponderance of Evidence in College Cases

Schools can operate within a standard that requires a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence is often referred to as 51%, or more likely than not. While this is a lower standard of proof, there can still be doubt if the facts remain unclear.

Universities are allowed to do this because it is a private process. A student’s liberty is not at stake, and they will not be subjected to confinement by the government. The constitutional protection of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not implicated in this proceeding. Nevertheless, the ramifications for accused students can be extremely serious and could lead to expulsion or suspension. While this might dramatically alter a student’s life path in many ways, it is different from being sent to jail.

Differences Between Sexual Misconduct Charges for Harassment, Assault, and Rape in D.C.

Depending on the university in question, the campus code of conduct may mirror the D.C. Criminal Code or be distinct. The D.C. Criminal Code makes distinctions between sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is conduct that took place in the context of some professional environment. Sexual harassment could consist of:

  • Behavior or conduct that is sexual by nature
  • Inappropriate behavior which makes someone uncomfortable
  • Requests or implications that someone must perform, submit, or acquiesce to some sexual treatment
  • Behavior that can create a hostile or offensive work environment
  • Behavior that can create a hostile or offensive school environment in the context of a university

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault in D.C. applies to a variety of different offenses. Typically, it is physical contact of a sexual nature without consent. This could occur in a variety of ways. It may involve groping or unwanted sexual physical contact in a public or private place. Some examples of sexual assault are:

  • Using force against another person to commit a sex act
  • Threatening someone with force to get them to commit or submit to a sex act
  • Rendering a person unconscious or taking advantage and then committing sexual behavior

Rape

Rape is generally defined under D.C. law and in most campus Codes of Conduct as penetrative sex without consent. This may either be perpetrated by force, by employing the threat of force or violence, or against someone who is incapacitated or in a position in which they are unable to knowingly give consent or be aware of what is happening. Most campuses employ a similar definition.

Whether a student is facing charges of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape, an experienced attorney could champion their case.

Consulting a DC Student Sexual Assault and Rape Lawyer

A DC student sexual assault and rape lawyer may be essential in disputing any allegations of sexual offenses on college campuses. Convictions for these crimes could follow a person for the rest of their life and may place significant restrictions on them. Hire a well-practiced attorney who could advocate for your rights immediately.